Hartford men's lacrosse: Head coach Peter Lawrence steps down
WEST HARTFORD, Conn – Peter Lawrence has resigned as head coach of the University of Hartford to pursue an opportunity with NXT Sports. Lawrence, who served at the helm of the Hawks for 11 seasons, departs after leading the program to its second America East Championship and NCAA Tournament berth in 2016. Ryan Martin, who was promoted to associate head coach in 2015, has been named the interim head coach.
Lawrence and his family will be relocating to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as he will be assuming the position of chief operating officer of NXT Sports, a sports education and management company based out of the Naval Yard in Philadelphia and Chicago. Co-founded by Lawrence in 2009, the mission of NXT Sports is to create the most innovative sports education programs and execute industry-leading events at exceptional venues.
"I have been coaching collegiate athletics since my sophomore year in college," commented Lawrence. "I am excited to begin the next chapter of my career, and get my hands in sports education and management. I truly believe this will be an amazing opportunity for my wife and our three children."
"While I am sad to see a close friend and treasured member of Hawk Nation leave our department, I could not be happier for Pete, Meghan, Finn, Rowan and Emery as they begin a new chapter in their lives that will bring them closer together as a family," explained Director of Athletics Anton Goff. "I have all the confidence in the world that Ryan Martin will excel as our interim head coach once Pete departs near the end of the month. Pete, Ryan and the entire coaching staff have built a culture of excellence within the lacrosse program, and I firmly believe there are more championships in our future."
Lawrence piloted the Hawks to a memorable run through the America East Championship last week. Knocking off fourth-ranked and top-seeded University of Albany in the semifinals for the program's first win against a top-five opponent, Hartford earned the conference crown after defeating Vermont in the title game.
The Hawks' flight came to an end when they came up short to Quinnipiac in the preliminary round of the NCAA Tournament. With an 11-7 overall record, Hartford posted the second-most wins in program history in 2016.
"I am leaving the University of Hartford on a high note, and have left the program in a much better place than it was when I inherited it," Lawrence said. "I would like to thank the current, future and former parents for their amazing support in helping build the Hartford lacrosse family into what it is today."
It was the second time in six years that Lawrence led the Hawks to an NCAA tournament berth. In 2011, Hartford defeated nationally-ranked Stony Brook in the tournament's title game to bring home the America East Championship for the first time in school history
"I would also like to thank all of my players, both current and former, as well as my current and former assistants for buying in, setting their goals high and representing this University with great class," commented Lawrence.
Lawrence's student-athletes have been accomplished both on and off the field. The team has been heavily involved in the community, and has excelled in the classroom as well, posting the top GPA among the conference's men's lacrosse programs for three-straight years (2012, 2013, 2014).
Seventy-nine America East All-Conference awards were handed out to student-athletes during Lawrence's tenure, including 19 first-team, 20 second-team, 18 all-rookie and 28 all-academic team honors. Two Hawks (Scott Bement, Dylan Jinks) have earned one of the league's major awards, while two players were named USILA All-Americans (Carter Bender, Tim Fallon). In addition, each of the conference's last three Men's Lacrosse Scholar-Athletes have come from Hartford (Rory Nunamacher, Tate Klidonas, Brian Monks), with Klidonas also receiving USILA Scholar All-America Team laurels.
"I have been blessed to work alongside great coaches, administrators and support staff at Hartford who have truly helped in elevating this program to national recognition," continued Lawrence. "The support that we have received from alums and parents has been an integral part of the Hawks' success. Lastly, I would like to thank my wife, Meghan, and our three children for their unwavering support during the tough times and the good times. They have been there every step of the way in creating the Hartford lacrosse family."
Lawrence was hired as the program's seventh head coach prior to the 2006 season. He plans to return to campus in October to serve as coach of the Alumni Team during Hawktober Weekend and will be present when the Hawks are awarded their 2016 America East Championship rings at the team's annual banquet.